Warriors guard Monta Ellis entered overtime of Wednesday's 123-118 loss to the Denver Nuggets having played 153 consecutive minutes.

So it is no surprise, though he'll never admit it, that he missed a clutch free throw that would've tied the game with 25.5 seconds left. Or that he had a hard time keeping up with Nuggets guard Chauncey Billups, who scored 10 of his career-high-tying 37 in overtime.

He finished with 39 points and 10 assists in 53 minutes, giving him 158 consecutive minutes of action. But logic, science or even your local tarot card reader figures it has to catch up to him at some point.

"He is incredible," Denver coach George Karl said of Ellis. "He plays so many minutes and sometimes that is reflected in his defense, as we know he probably gets a little tired. But they let him control the offense, and I can't say enough about him. He's an incredible player."

The Warriors (12-28) have lost four of the first six games on this seven-game homestand.

Ellis and Billups traded big shot after big shot in the second riveting, high-scoring affair between the Warriors and Nuggets. The Warriors contained Carmelo Anthony, the NBA's leading scorer at 30 points per game. Anthony needed 22 shots to get 23 points and turned the ball over five times.


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But Billups, and Nuggets big men Kenyon Martin and Nene were enough to stiff-arm the Warriors. Martin and Nene combined for 30 points and 26 rebounds. Martin grabbed two of his eight offensive rebounds in overtime, both having a demoralizing effect on the Warriors defense.

Andris Biedrins led the Warriors with 13 rebounds. Forward Corey Maggette — who had 33 points, giving him 30-plus in three straight for the first time in his career — chipped in with nine rebounds.

"We lost the game because we didn't rebound," Warriors coach Don Nelson said. "Possession after possession, we got a stop, but our lack of rebounding gave them extra chances."

The Warriors entered the fourth quarter up by one, but perhaps should've been up by more. They led 80-71 with just over three minutes left in the third after Maggette scored seven straight points.

Golden State led 82-78 in the final seconds of the third quarter. But Denver guard Ty Lawson was fouled by Ellis while taking a buzzer-beating heave from half-court.

After a video review, referees determined Ellis' foul came before the horn, and Lawson was awarded three free throws, knocking down all of them.

Ellis, if you remember, was involved in a similar situation on Jan. 5, resulting in a heartbreaking loss to the Nuggets. Denver needed a basket in the final seconds, and Ellis, contesting J.R. Smith's desperation heave, was called for a foul. Smith made two of three free throws, and the Warriors lost 123-122.

Still, it looked as if Ellis would it pull it out for the Warriors on Wednesday. Golden State had the ball down 105-102 with 32.5 seconds left in regulation. Though he shoots around 30 percent from 3-point range, Nelson ran a play to get Ellis a look from three. He nailed it, sending the game into overtime.

In overtime, Ellis put the Warriors up 117-116 with a 3-pointer from the right wing.

But the Nuggets' Smith answered with a 3-pointer of his own. Ellis had a chance to tie the game at 119, but split a pair of free throws.

After a pair of free throws by Billups with 22.1 left, Ellis, pushing the ball, found D-League call-up Anthony Tolliver open in the left corner. Ellis' 10 assists gives him at least eight in his past three games, the first time in his career he's pulled off such a feat. They needed one more. But Tolliver missed.

"I feel great," said Ellis, who is averaging 32.3 points, 7.2 assists and 2.0 steals his past six games. "Left it all on the court. Wish we could have got the win."

NUGGETS 123,
WARRIORS 118
NEXT GAME: Friday, vs. Nets, 7:30 p.m.